Venezuela’s opposition alliance launched a campaign on Tuesday to oust President Nicolas Maduro, vowing to hold protest rallies and push for both a recall referendum and constitutional amendment to end his presidency.
“Change is coming and no one can stop it,” the head of the Democratic Unity coalition Jesus Torrealba told a news conference.
Hungry for power after 17 years of socialist rule begun by the late Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s opposition capitalized on public ire over the crisis-hit economy to win control of the National Assembly legislature in December.
Now it is counting on a multi-pronged attack against Chavez’s successor to bring him down half-way through his six-year term in the South American OPEC member nation.
Reading a communique from the coalition, Torrealba said its more than two dozen parties had decided unanimously to activate “all the mechanisms for change” in Venezuela’s constitution in search of a “national unity government.”
Despite the show of unity, however, the coalition is notoriously fractious, with a moderate wing led by twice-presidential candidate Henrique Capriles and a more radical side headed by jailed protest leader Leopoldo Lopez.
Removing Maduro will be difficult because the government can count on friendly electoral and judicial institutions to help it frustrate opposition plans with delaying or blocking tactics.
Government figures have condemned the opposition’s plans as a U.S.-backed attempt to bring about a coup d’etat in the nation of 29 million people with the world’s largest oil reserves.
“They want to organize street rallies to generate violence and bring about a coup, supported by U.S. imperialism,” the Socialist Party’s powerful No. 2 Diosdado Cabello and former National Assembly head said this week.